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Information Governance

Taking Monaco Memo for granted could be a risky deal for corporates

Recently, a chief investment officer and two of his co-conspirators (senior-level managers) of an international management firm were charged in a Multibillion-Dollar fraud case. It resulted in billions of dollars of investors’ losses. The court also ordered to pay more than $3 billion in restitution to the victims of this fraud. Also, $2.3 billion as a criminal fine and forfeit approximately $463 million to the government. (Source: DOJ)

In October 2021, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco described DOJ’s actions against sophisticated corporate crimes or wrongdoings in her keynote address at ABA’s 36th National Institute on White Collar Crime. The message is loud and clear for all those who take Monaco Memo lightly.

“Fighting corporate crime is a top priority of the Department of Justice. By holding accountable individuals and companies responsible for criminal malfeasance, the Department protects the public, promotes the integrity of our markets, discourages unlawful business practices, fights transnational corruption, and upholds the rule of law.

Additionally, we ensure public confidence in the fairness of our economic system and make clear that no one is above the law.” – Monaco said.

Download the official document published by DOJ in regard to Ms. Monaco’s Memorandum.

Deputy attorney general of DOJ Lisa Monaco introduced three new actions to combat corporate crime. She added that these actions are just a first step and must be monitored closely to determine their impact.

Here are the 3 steps Ms. Monaco referenced:

  1. To receive any cooperation credit, companies must provide all non-privileged information about individuals (regardless of their position, status, or seniority) involved in or responsible for misconduct.
  2. Prosecutors can demand the full range of prior misconduct history to evaluate the company’s commitment to compliance programs and efforts to disincentivize criminal activity
  3. To ensure that the company is living up to its compliance and disclosure obligations under DPA or NPA, DOJ can impose independent monitors whenever it is appropriate.

How will the Monaco Memo impact corporates?

Undoubtedly, companies have to be more vigilant about their compliance practices. Ms. Monaco mentioned in her announcement that organizations must regularly review their compliance programs, proactively identify threats and misconduct, or face possible negative consequences.

Establishing corporate compliance seems more challenging than ever.

Corporations have to declare any misconduct in an impartial fashion and disclose all non-privileged custodial information to DOJ.

In order to comply with DOJ regulations, corporate actors must disclose all their tracked records and their communication history to the appointed prosecutors. Prosecutors can demand to know the company’s current compliance practices and efforts, requiring corporations to disclose such details. Ultimately, corporations have to take the onus to prove their compliance efforts by providing transparent information about their entire practices, potential misconducts, and their remedial efforts.

How can technology be instrumental here?

It is not the first time that DOJ has taken strict measures to forfeit corporate crimes. Before the Monaco Memo in 2015, Deputy attorney general Sally Quillian Yates made similar efforts (aka Yates Memo) to combat corporate wrongdoings and make individuals accountable. Considering this is the second similar kind of reform in a decade, it is time for companies to become more cautious about their data and compliance practices. Technology will serve as an essential component in systematizing entire workflows within an organization.

Workflow management, audit control, custom reporting, inbuilt analytics, and advanced search-ability prepare a corporation to prevent corporate wrongdoing. When misconduct allegations are being addressed, technology can help corporations when they respond to government inquiries or demands.

It is vital to have control over process workflow and practices. With the right technology deployed, companies can create a custom workflow to suit their compliance policies and business obligations.

Establishing a defined workflow helps compel employees to follow specific steps, which makes it easier to enforce corporate policies.

Controlling corporate data enables organizations to smooth the path they must follow. With automated workflows, companies can ensure that they fulfill all their compliance obligations. Smart Archiving solutions can serve as a resource since the DOJ can request historical data from a corporate actor at any time. Thus, a smart data archival system ensures corporate preparation and strengthens an organization’s case for earning corporate credits. Additional benefits result from having a robust reporting system in place, keeping the organization up to date with every ongoing project within a company.

Moreover, audit reports provide the corporation with data to identify instances of breach, or misconduct, promptly. Audit reports also help identify individuals involved in misconduct and provide access to their activity logs regarding the history of each document. Technological capabilities continue to aid corporations, improving their abilities to stay current with changing norms and be presentable in front of the DOJ.

Conclusion

Ms. Monaco’s Memo has many multinational corporations revisiting their compliance policies and procedures. The new focus on individual criminal responsibility will cause companies to rethink their current practices to reduce the risk of future prosecutions. The changes aren’t without controversy, but if your organization is compliant, then DOJ should not need to disrupt your day-to-day operations.

Therefore, it is time for corporations to realize the importance of these statutory regulations and take effective measures to ensure compliance.

Regardless of the industry or size of your company, it is no longer possible to ignore compliance when communicating electronically.

Corporations of all sizes need to make this a priority since failing to comply could have serious financial and legal consequences. Luckily, there are several technological solutions available that help corporations and other business organizations manage their data while enforcing compliance efforts. To know more, please connect us at knovos.com.